Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents - FARRAH STORR Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

When you look back at the part­ners in your life, how do you feel? Do you look back with anger? Re­gret? Sad­ness? Or have the tides of time worn away even the sharpest edges from some of your most com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ships? I ask this be­cause this month I sat down with our cover star, Caro­line Flack, as she per­formed a live au­topsy on the past loves of her life. It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that was re­veal­ing, not be­cause of the in­ti­macy with which she talked about them (though that too, as celebri­ties rarely speak freely about any­thing – and cer­tainly not love), but rather be­cause of the gen­eros­ity with which she spoke about each man. Some peo­ple say you should never look back – cer­tainly not on the things that went wrong. But I be­lieve you can’t move for­ward un­til you’re pre­pared to look back – even on the trick­i­est of sit­u­a­tions. And love, as we all know, can be very tricky. I re­mem­ber the boy whose heart I broke at 17, but who sub­se­quently went on to break my own heart over and over again, un­til at last I upped sticks and moved 200 miles away, just so it felt like I could breathe again. I re­mem­ber also the older man who played my emo­tions like a Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin and whose foot­prints I was sure would stay on my soul for­ever (they didn’t). And then there were all the flings that never called back, the lovely, kind men I tor­mented (I’m sorry) and the ones who would prob­a­bly have made pretty good part­ners had I the fore­sight to judge them by their virtues rather than by their shoes. But that’s the thing about re­la­tion­ships, par­tic­u­larly when you’re younger: it’s hard to ex­ca­vate the sense from them un­til they’re over. In­stead we ex­pe­ri­ence only the in-the-mo­ment prof­li­gate joys and wound­ing heart­break. And then we move on, box­ing them up like parcels to be sent away to the land of ‘Lost loves and other things I don’t want to ever speak of again.’ And yet some of our great­est per­sonal learn­ing can come through ex­am­in­ing the men and women we have loved and lost in our lives. I look back on ev­ery one of my re­la­tion­ships now with a sort of wist­ful hap­pi­ness. With the ro­mance and pain wrung out of them, each one now of­fers a re­veal­ing rear-view mir­ror into who I once was. (The an­swer: a born writer whose re­la­tion­ships mainly failed not be­cause of who those men were, but be­cause of the fan­tasies I pro­jected onto them of who I wanted to be­lieve they were.) So here’s my ad­vice to you: look back. Be­cause when the pain and the sad­ness lifts (and it mostly al­ways does), there are new joys and jew­els to be found.

Keep in touch by fol­low­ing me on Twit­ter @Far­rah_S­torr and In­sta­gram @far­rah­storr

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